New Delhi: For the upcoming presidential elections, the BJP has authorised its president J.P. Nadda and Union defence minister Rajnath Singh to hold consultations with various political parties, including those in the opposition camp, to arrive at a consensus on the choice for the top constitutional post. Neither the ruling BJP-led NDA nor the opposition camp have declared their presidential candidates so far.
The two BJP leaders, in what is being seen as an outreach by the ruling party to arrive at a consensus on the choice for the top constitutional post, will be holding consultation with leaders of political parties soon, a statement issued by the BJP said. The election for the next president will be held on July 18, in which 4,809 electors, including MPs and MLAs, will vote to elect incumbent Ram Nath Kovind’s successor.
Going by its strength in the Lok Sabha and the Rajya Sabha as well as in many state Assemblies, the BJP is in a comfortable position to ensure the victory of the candidate nominated by it in the upcoming election. The BJP leadership is also hopeful of non-NDA and non-UPA parties like the YSRCP and BJD’s support for its nominee.
Mr Singh, who enjoys a good rapport with leaders across the political spectrum, was also part of the BJP’s three member committee during the 2017 presidential polls to deliberate with opposition parties.
In 2017, then BJP president Amit Shah had constituted a three-member panel of then senior Union ministers Arun Jaitley and M. Venkaiah Naidu, including Mr Singh, to hold talks with all the political parties over the presidential polls.
The BJP had fielded then Bihar governor Kovind as its candidate in the polls. Mr Kovind went on to become the president after defeating opposition-backed Meira Kumar.
With relatively fewer numbers on its side this time, the BJP-led NDA’s nominee will require the support of one of the two fence-sitters — the Biju Janata Dal (BJD) and the YSR Congress Party.
In the last presidential polls, both parties had supported Mr Kovind.
Meanwhile, Congress president Sonia Gandhi has also reached out to several opposition leaders, including Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) chief Sharad Pawar and Trinamul Congress supremo and West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee, for consultation over the presidential polls.
Ms Banerjee has called a meeting of opposition parties in Delhi on June 15 in the backdrop of the presidential election.
The presidential polls will be held on July 18 and the counting of votes, if needed, will be taken up on July 21.